Yesterday, Customs and Border Protection announced that the U.S. Marshals’ Fugitive Task Force, working with a local Border Patrol agent, arrested an illegal alien from El Salvador in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on three counts of first-degree rape against a child between 2014 and 2016.
While every illegal alien crime, by definition, is avoidable if we had the proper border and interior enforcement in place, this case has an extra wrinkle to it. Andres Fuentes-Castro, 44, according to CBP, was encountered by U.S. Border Patrol-New Orleans Sector agents in 2007 during a traffic stop in Baton Rouge. He would have been deported and this alleged sexual assault would never have occurred, but Border Patrol found he was given Temporary Protected Status (TPS) as a Salvadoran national under the El Salvador TPS program. His status later expired in 2010 and was not renewed, rendering him a fugitive alien for nine years for not departing the country.
If our laws were functioning the way Congress designed them, Fuentes-Castro would have been deported in 2007. TPS was not designed to be an amnesty program for illegal aliens; it was designed as a sixth-month temporary stay for those who are here legally but can’t return home because of an intervening natural disaster.
El Salvador was granted that status in 2001 because of an earthquake. That status, pursuant to law, should have been terminated within six months or at most after 18 months of extensions under “extraordinary circumstances” (clearly lacking here). It should have applied only to very few people who happened to be in the country traveling during the earthquake. But instead, it was handed out to over 200,000 Salvadorans, far more than any other TPS-designated country, and is still being used 18 years later!